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Removal of Aribisogan as Ekiti Assembly Speaker clear case of lawlessness ― Afe Babalola

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Founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, SAN has condemned in strong terms the removal of Gboyega Aribisogan as the speaker of the Ekiti state House of Assembly.

Aribisogan from Ikole constituency I was elected last week with 15 votes to defeat his challenger Bunmi Adelugba from Emure constituency who scored 10 votes during the election conducted by the clerk of the house to replace the late speaker, Funminiyi Afuye.

However, in a twist of events, some lawmakers regrouped on Monday at the plenary and elected Adelugba as the new speaker following the reported impeachment of Aribisogan for allegedly sabotaging the passage of the 2022 appropriation bill, among other allegations.

Reacting to the imbroglio in the state legislative arm during the 3rd Afe Babalola distinguished personality lecture on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, the elder statesman expressed regret over the violations of the principle of fair hearing in the entire process by the political gladiators in the All Progressives Congress.

He explained that Aribisogan who was elected by the majority of lawmakers last week ought to have been given enough time to respond to allegations against him before his removal, adding that the impeachment would be challenged in court in the interest of peace in the state and rule of law.

While calling on the state council of traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the state to intervene towards finding a lasting solution to the impasse, he stated that leading lawyers from Ekiti state in the country would in a matter of days release a joint statement on the issue.

Babalola said, “Last week, 15 lawmakers elected Gboyega Aribisogan as a speaker and I was sitting in my house here that within few days, some lawmakers met again to remove the man with lawful votes of 15. Is that peaceful and lawful? Before you can have peace anywhere, there must be justice and it is sad that in this country, we don’t obey the laws.

“How can you have this kind of situation when the laws say that you must let the person you are accusing know what he or she was being accused of and be given sufficient time to respond to the alleged infractions? So, let me say that there was no justice for Aribisogan.

“My learning teaches me that there must be fair hearing and full compliance with the rule of law. You cannot impeach someone that has done something wrong without bringing it to his attention; in this case, nothing was done and don’t forget he was removed overnight.

“It is a clear case of breach of the law and fundamental fair hearing. I cannot but believe this was a case of total neglect of the law and people taking the law into their hands

“I have spoken with the new governor (Biodun Oyebanji) and the man elected properly as the speaker (Aribisogan) to find a solution to it and if there is no way out peacefully, then of course there will be an action file in the court of law and I can assure you that in the next few hours, there will be a seriously-worded press statement by the leading lawyers from Ekiti on the crisis in the state Assembly.

“I will advise, suggest and plead with the traditional rulers in the state to intervene immediately to preserve law and order in Ekiti, otherwise the peace we are hoping for might elude us in the state.”

Delivering the lecture entitled, ‘Youth restiveness, leadership and peacebuilding in Nigeria: Dynamics, challenges and opportunities ‘the commander, Martin Luther Agwai International leadership and peacekeeping centre, Jaji Kaduna state, Major General Auwal Fagge called on the government to address the challenges of unemployment, dearth of infrastructure and legal framework to solve the security problems in the country.

Represented by General Olu Olofin(retd), the guest lecturer said, “the causes of youth restiveness are connected to unemployment, lack of basic infrastructural facilities and inadequate social amenities, among others.”

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